It Was the Worst of Times

I just finished a post on Pontius Pilate. While writing, I could not get the images of the terror in Afghanistan right now.

It is not unusual for people to think they are living in the worst of times. In 18th Century France, people were done with royalty and wanted to rule themselves. Their desire for a better government resulted in no government. Whatever order they wanted to eradicate, they won chaos. Charles Dickens likened it to worse times:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Charles Dickens, introduction to his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

During my short lifetime, there have been many times said to be the worst. The execution of President John F. Kenedy, the Vietnam “war,” the gas shortage of the 1970s, the Iraqui war, the war in Afghanistan, just to name a few. Many of the military actions following the War to End All Wars, then its brother, World War II, have been highly controversial. The public was divided between those who supported the decisions of the politicians and those who believed they were unnecessary at best and criminal at worst.

I am not interested in either explaining history or rewriting it. However, the most recent “war” is the 20 years American troops have been in Afghanistan is a tragic repeat of history. Our government officials did not know how to end the Vietnam war, but they felt the opposition to it by Americans. So, it was determined to sacrifice territory to the North Koreans. This was not done by negotiating some form of transition. It was accomplished by pulling out suddenly. The images on the news broadcasts were tragic. People died trying to get on helicopters. More people suffered by being left behind. And the South Koreans in Saigon were targets of the enemy.

Recently, the foolishness, or maybe arrogance of our current President repeated the Vietnam horror of Richard Nixon. Granted, he did not make this decision on his own. He had plenty of advisors. But, for whatever reason, he did not choose to listen to those who remembered Saigon, and despite telling the American public that pulling our military out of Afghanistan would be transitional, planned, and take some time. The result is there was no transition, there was no plan, and it happened over hours, not days or months.

We pulled out so fast, there was no longer the minimal support provided to the Afghanistan military, and it crumbled along with the dreams and hopes of freedom promised by the United States. We pulled out so fast that we left all kinds of military property, and gave it to America’s worst enemy since the 9-11 attack on American soil. We pulled out so fast that the Afghani people became terrified of what was to come and they would do anything to find a way out. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend why the Taliban wants to keep the people who do not want to stay.

Once again, the images on the media covering the situation honestly are just as tragic as Saigon. We pulled out not considering those Americans left behind. We pulled out not thinking about those Afghanis who would suffer more than you or I have ever suffered. Why hand over people, weapons, and technology to the Taliban? Why lie about it to the American people? Why, after this catastrophe, would anyone try to paint this as a victory for the United States. Those men and women of the U.S. military who died in Afghanistan essentially died for nothing. All we fought for ended in nothing. Just like Vietnam.

There have been politicians I didn’t like. But none has made me embarrassed to be an American until now. This is not the worst time in human history. But it is a very dark time. Once again, I am reminded to turn to my true leader, my King, who is the light of the world.

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